Both teams have met with Cliff Lee and his wife in their Arkansas home since the end of the World Series; the Rangers have gone twice.

Both teams met with Lee's agent briefly yesterday in what appears to be a last minute "nuts and bolts" type meeting as they prepare their first offers.

This of course sets up both the Rangers and the Yankees to make their first official offers to the prize of the free agent market at Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings at some point today.

While news from the Rangers camp has been notably quiet as usual, the news from New York has been leaking out on a regular basis since Sunday; news that should make even the most pessimistic Rangers fan at least a little optimistic.

Last night we learned that a mystery team was preparing a seven year offer for Lee and everyone following the Rangers had a quick loss of breath fearing it was the Yankees.

Within minutes of that reported seven year offer floating around the hotel lobby we learned from Yankee beat writers that the Yankees are not preparing such an offer and have called a seventh year a deal breaker internally.


The Rangers meanwhile have held steadfast thus far not offering much in terms of a hint on what their initial offer will look like.

If Jon Daniels and Co. are paying attention to the reports coming from New York this morning they'll find credible beat writers for the Yankees saying the Bronx Bombers will tap out on Lee at 6/$144MM - 6/$150MMM.

That means the Rangers need only reach 6/$137MM - 6/$142.5MM to make the dollars equal due to state income taxes.

That's $22.8MM - $23.75MM a year over six years which won't blow the Rangers new ownership group out of the water for a guy they want back this badly.

Not to mention the buzz going into the Winter Meetings was Lee wanted to come back to Texas and if the Rangers offered six years and got close to the Yankees financially he would return.

Read between the lines and it appears the Yankees will have to overwhelm the Rangers offer to pry Lee from Arlington, something I doubt happens unless they offer much more than their rumored max out point.

I will close with a thought I had this morning while reading through the overnight reports from my various local and national sources.

This feels a lot like the last days of the Rangers ownership struggle to me where the new bidders were assumed to be preparing a higher offer than the Greenberg/Ryan group.

Events leading up to that fateful night kept leaning against Greenberg/Ryan to the point Mark Cuban was poised to win the auction but the Greenberg group won out in the end with an offer that surprised everyone involved.

The new ownership group won out when one of the two billionaires backing the bid showed up with his checkbook; an event that could be repeated at the Winter Meetings with an offer that surprises everyone once again.

Stay tuned.